Florida - September 2017
Almost a year from the day Hurricane Matthew stalked the east coast of Florida, we endured Hurricane Irma. The timing was similar, but the characteristics were very different. I recall Matthew being a "fast-moving" hurricane - from the start of the wind and rain to the quiet end was only about 6-8 hours. In both, I could hear the wind battling with the outside structure of our house. Rain droplets traveling almost parallel to the ground. Trees and objects were tugged back and forth. Patio Furniture rocking uncontrollably. Irma's huge size made the news of a more westerly shift hard to swallow as the roof vents sang songs of her arrival. Fear intensified as we understood that we will be taking on the east side of her counterclockwise spin first to start her nearly two full days of attack.
A few hours into her dance, we lost power. Luckily, it was at night so the house remained cool until morning. Our windows were covered in plywood, so it was difficult to tell the time of day without a clock. Text messages from family and friends drained the last of my cellphone power. Irma's wrath continue on throughout the day. Inside the house, the temperature was rising. The darkness of the house and the smell of wet air promoted a sense of uncertainty. A tiny hole in the plywood showed the last breath of a fading day. Night fell again, but it brought little relief from the enclosed heat. We tried our best to sleep through the screaming and howling winds.
weather App's confirmation of safe passage - the longest hours of my life. Relieved to have only lost our outdoor shed and some small items, we chatted with our neighbors about the ordeal. It took two additional days for our power to return, but many in other parts of Florida remain powerless for days. We were truly blessed. We were able to grab enough supplies before the storm. Others were not so lucky. Stores were selling out of water as soon as they received deliveries. Shelves were empty of all the typical supplies and non-perishable food items. Our stores are still not fully stocked, and many Floridians in critical areas in South Florida remain without power and/or are unable to return to their homes.
It saddens me to say that Hurricane Maria caused even greater devastation - pounding already compromised areas of the Caribbean, St. Croix, Puerto Rico, and others. They really need our help and prayers. I cannot imagine what their lives are like at this moment. My experience was so mild compared to what they have faced and are going to be facing. Likewise, we cannot forget Texas and Louisiana with Hurricane Harvey or the earthquake in Mexico. Whether you lost all the food in your refrigerator or have to replace a shed or clear a fallen tree, please try to do what you can for others. I am so thankful to be alive, but my ordeal cannot begin to compare. Here is the link to Red Cross' Website. Join us in helping others in their time of need. Donate to Red Cross. https://www.redcross.org/donate/donation
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